Injured, take BCAAs to prevent muscle loss from lack of exercise?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 21, 2013 at 2:21 AM

I have an injury to my chest/back/ribs that I'm currently waiting on xrays from my doctor to diagnose. It could be costochondritis, thorasic radiculitis or something else but bottom line is it sucks. It happened from Crossfit about 6 months ago and hasn't gotten better regardless of approach. All that I can do is rest and try not to overexert myself. The best exercise I can get is hiking with zero weight on my back, anything else is too much strain and even that is infrequent.

I've read multiple articles & studies about how taking BCAAs can help prevent muscle loss while injured by giving your body what it needs to prevent muscle catabolism.


However, having never taken BCAAs I'm curious if there are any side effects from their consumption? I've read not to take them if you're an alcoholic as it could damage the liver and some complications with blood sugar. None of the basic side effects apply to me and most info says there are no side effects at least for up to 6 months of use. Anyone know if there are complications for using longer than 6 months?

I also read about how they affect tryptophan: tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin the in the brain and BCAAs compete at the blood brain barrier for transport in the brain. The amount of serotonin produced is directly related to tryptophan:LNAA ratio.



The LeanGains guy recommends them for working out and dosing at 10g a few times per day on training days. As does the bulletproof executive for his weight loss protocol.

I'm 6'1 1/2" 155lbs 7.5% BF and have always had a lean, slight frame. I'm toned and was pretty strong for my body weight. I don't typically gain weight when not exercising, just lose muscle and body composition. I'm not looking to take large doses, maybe 10g per day at most. What is the correct dosage for what I'm trying to accomplish?

I'm strict paleo eater with occasional boozing, IF daily 16/8 (1:00-9:00pm feeding) with bulletproof coffee and take mainly food based nutritional supplements that BP exec recommends, nothing really exotic.


When should I take them on an IF protocol? Also around other supplements?

This is the brand I've seen the highest recommendations for:


I'm not looking to lose any weight obviously, I just don't want to lose my muscle while I can't exercise and don't know how long it will be before I can beat this injury! But I don't want to mess up my sleep, hormones etc. please help!

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2 Answers



on July 21, 2013
at 05:49 AM

A good plate of meat or such will do the same thing, or more. :)



on July 21, 2013
at 10:00 AM

BCAAs are great, but I'm not sure they'll work for long term without the stimulus of exercise. You might want to do workouts of muscles that aren't injured to the best of your ability.

Perhaps get one of those electronic stimulus machines too and isolate the specific muscles that weren't injured. It's good that you're able to walk as that puts pressure on your bones which will keep them from weakening. (Bones, like muscle are built up and broken down as needed.)

Yeah, usually 10-15g/day of BCAAs when fasting, perhaps you might need more now. I'd also say you might need more since you're not exercising, and I'd cut out the daily IF if you're injured as you'll need the extra protein for repair. You'd probably want to have some bone broth daily as well to help with the bone/connective tissue repair.

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